Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Former Australian foreign minister urges Assange’s independence

Former Australian Secretary of State Bob Carr on Monday demanded from his country that the United States prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

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Britain last week approved the Australian’s extradition to the United States, where he could face life in prison for publishing secret military files.

Assange’s lawyers have vowed to appeal.

The long-running legal saga began in 2010 after WikiLeaks published more than 500,000 classified US documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange has been remanded in a top-security prison in south-east London since 2019 to serve bail in a previous case accused of sexual assault in Sweden.

That case was dropped but he was not released on the grounds that he was a flight risk in a US extradition case.

In an op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald, Carr argued that Assange’s prosecution stood in contrast to the US pardoning former military intelligence officer Chelsea Manning, who leaked secret files to WikiLeaks.

Carr said it was the “most powerful argument” by newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to advocate for Assange’s release.

“If Albanese asks, my guess is that America will agree,” Carr wrote.

“Our new prime minister might say: ‘We’re not fans of that guy, Mr President, but this has been going on for a long time. We’re good allies. Let it be a drop.'”

While campaigning for the May elections, which catapulted his Labor party to power, Albanese said “just enough” and he does not see “what purpose is served by Mr. Assange’s ongoing pursuit”. .

Carr was serving as Secretary of State when Assange, facing sexual assault allegations, sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Over the past decade, Australia’s previous Conservative government did not publicly advocate for Assange’s release.

Stella Assange, the wife of the WikiLeaks founder, told ABC Radio on Monday that the Australian government had talked with their US counterparts about the prosecution.

“My understanding is that the Australian government is taking this up and this is extremely welcome news,” she said.

Read more:

Assange’s family says Europe is being trusted to block his extradition to the US

UK approves extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to US

WikiLeaks’ Assange will marry in jail

Nation World News Desk
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